The Prayer. Holiday Tree?

YOUTH MASS: Help Wanted

Our first Mass with the newly formed Youth Band/Choir took place last Saturday afternoon at the 5 pm. Mass.  While we will continue to work out the kinks in the volume levels and balances between voice and instruments in a church with loads of echo, little by little we will get there.  All in all the music was well done and several young people inquired about the possibility of joining the choir with their voices.

We are in need of a Bass guitar player which will give lots of foundational musical support to the band.  If you have questions, suggestions or would like to get involved at the Youth Mass as a singer, instrumentalist or a Lector.


Our Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CL) which is held each Sunday at the 9 am. Mass for children in JK, SK, Gr. 1 & 2 is in need of those small carpet samples that carpet stores have which can be used for the children to sit on while they attend the Children’s Liturgy.  Lately our attendance at the CL has reached as high as 60 children which has made it necessary for them to move from Board Room 1 to the parish hall.


A few years ago I was invited to give a day of retreat for women of the parish as a preparation for the season of Advent.  Among the many stories I shared with them that day, I read a verse that is called ‘The Prayer’ and thought it might be good to share again here in the bulletin as well.  (As the author is unknown I can’t give credit where credit is due.)  The truth that this verse conveys is that there is a big difference for what we ask for and what God desires to give us.  While prayer should never be viewed as our shopping list to God, God, who is always aware of our needs knows what is best for us.  Following the path of wisdom, God will show us through consistent prayer in our daily lives what we should ask for.  One of the aspects of prayer is that whether we seek it or not, whether we desire it or not, whether we know it or not – prayer and praying changes us!

As we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King this weekend – the end of the Church year – and prepare to begin once again on our Advent journey, awaiting the coming of the Messiah as did the people two millennia ago, a good habit would be to renew our sense and form the new habit of ‘talking to God’ and allowing God to talk to us.  It demands time, silence and waiting – and that’s what Advent is all about anyway. (Fr. Charles)

I asked God to take away my pride.  And God said no.
He said it was not for him to take away
But for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole
And God said no.
He said her spirit is whole.  Her body is only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience.  And God said no.
He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation.
It isn’t granted.  It’s earned.
I asked God to give me happiness.  And God said no.
He said he gives blessings. Happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain.  And God said no.
He said suffering draws you apart from worldly care
And brings you closer to him.
I asked God to make my spirit grow.
And he said no.  He said I must grow on my own.
But I will be in heaven someday because I believe.
I asked God to help me love others as much as he loves me.  God said, “Ah, at last.  You finally have the idea.”


I heard a story on the news eight years ago that kind of peaked my interest because it was over a name change – the changing of a ‘Christmas tree’ to a ‘holiday tree’.

You see, on December 6, 1917 there was the famous tragedy known as the “Halifax Harbour Explosion” when a Belgian  relief vessel and a French munitions carrier collided in Halifax Harbour during World War I.  Halifax Harbour was the main base for the new Canadian Navy and was the location of the most important army garrison in Canada at the time.  As the port was the hub of wartime activity the harbour was crowded with warships, troops and troop ships as well as many supply ships.

The Halifax harbour explosion was the largerst man-made explosion the world had ever known before Hiroshima.  The explosion was said to have been heard as far away as Prince Edward Island.  Following the explosion and the cost to human life and the devastation to the port as well as Dartmouth, it was tallied that more than 1900 people were killed, 9,000 injured, 1600 buildings were destroyed, 12,000 houses damaged and 6,000 people were left homeless.

Every year since that horrific day in 1917 the province of Nova Scotia has sent a Christmas Tree to Boston in thanks to the New England city for the help they gave in the aftermath of the explosion and the terrible loss of human life.

Apparently, officials with Boston’s Parks Department decided it would be “less offensive to some people and generally more inclusive if the word ‘Christmas’ was dropped when they referred to the tree” and they decided that calling it a “holiday tree” instead was the answer.

The man who sent his 16-metre Christmas Tree to Massachusetts that year, a Mr. Donnie Hatt of Beech Hill, said that “Ever since I was born, a tree was put up for Christmas, not for holidays, because if you’re gonna do that you might as well put up a tree for Easter.”

I hear you Donnie, loud and clear, and couldn’t agree with you more.  In our contemporary attempts to be “politically correct” and “inclusive”, we don’t realize that we are at the very same time being “exclusive”, excluding all those who know why it is called a Christmas Tree, a tree put up by Christians to mark the birth of the Messiah.  The tree at Christmas, while it stands as an ever-present reminder of our Christmas’ past, our childhood, with wrapped presents ‘neath its’ boughs, it also stands as the symbol and reminder of the Cross of Christ.  While its’ history has been one that is sketchy at best having all sorts of meanings and derivations, the fact that more recent centuries have found us erecting the trees in our homes and churches at Christmas time – the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Messiah, – and until recently, erected them at civic centers, places of commerce and practically everywhere you could imagine, is proof that our Christian influence on our culture is waning.  Neglecting to serve or even recognize the interest and beliefs of some by changing one of their symbols to a generic meaning, (the Christmas tree to the holiday tree), waters down any meaning the tree might have for those who have held it as one of their symbols.

A man in Nova Scotia sends a gift of a Christmas Tree to another country of the world as a continuance of a long-held tradition only to find that the recipients of the gift no longer want to call the gift what it is but want to give it a new name.  He sent a Christmas Tree and a Holiday Tree arrived.  Could this be the miracle of Christmas? Not likely. Our Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League and so many others work hard to convey the message that Christmas without Christ is nothing.  So should we.  (Fr. Charles)

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